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How Munir became Pak army chief?

   By Vijay Darda | 28-11-2022

Munir was ISI chief at the time of Pulwama attack, angry Imran had removed him from the post within a few days

Vijay Darda

India cannot expect anything better from whoever becomes the army chief in Pakistan. But Syed Asim Munir Shah, the mastermind of the gruesome Pulwama attack, becoming the army chief of Pakistan is a matter of grave concern for India. Munir’s elevation also shows that terrorism runs in the blood of Pakistani rulers.

India has not forgotten the Pulwama attack of February 14, 2019 even today. A vehicle carrying more than 100 kg of explosives collided with a Central Reserve Police Force bus. Some 40 CRPF personnel were martyred in that attack. Pakistan-based terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed had taken the responsibility for the attack. Immediately after this attack, it was revealed in the initial investigation itself that not only Jaish-e-Mohammed but the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI too was involved. Syed Asim Munir Shah was the chief of ISI at that time. The attack took place under his direction but Imran was not even aware of it. If any country has to carry out any operation against another country, people occupying important positions like the Prime Minister, defence minister and national security advisor definitely have the information, but it is not so in Pakistan. The Pakistani army and ISI do everything themselves from planning to execution while keeping the political establishment in the dark and the latter comes to know about it only after the operation has been carried out. Be it Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto or Imran, they did not even know what was happening! The army never allowed the elected representatives to establish themselves in Pakistan. The army and ISI run their parallel government. It is not hidden from anyone that all the terrorist organisations are headed by officers of ISI and the military intelligence of Pakistan. They provide equipment, weapons and money to the terrorists. They give money for payment of salaries to the terrorists. These terrorists not only campaign against India but also work to disturb the political power within Pakistan and intimidate people so that no one defies their orders. The forces which do not want peace within India keep aiding and abetting the Pakistan army. Earlier a distant country used to help and now a neighbouring country is doing it.

Imran Khan who became the target of all-round criticism for the Pulwama attack, found in the investigation that Munir wanted to do something big as soon as he became the ISI chief in October 2018. The Pulwama attack was the culmination of that, but when on February 26, 2019, India carried out an airstrike on a large camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot and many terrorists were killed, Imran Khan felt that Munir had got him trapped. In June 2019, Munir was removed from the post of ISI chief. In fact, since the beginning of 2017, when Munir was entrusted with the responsibility of military intelligence till his time as ISI chief, he made such predatory strategies that the relations between India and Pakistan went from bad to worse. Munir was taking a more anti-India stand while Imran was trying to improve relations with India. After being removed from the post of ISI chief, Munir started opposing Imran Khan openly. He even commented on the alleged corruption of Imran’s wife Bushra Bibi.

Interestingly, the tenure of Pakistan’s outgoing army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa is coming to an end on November 29. Munir was about to retire before this, but a major reason behind bringing him to the post of army chief is that he is anti-Imran. Experts of international affairs believe that there was a lot of pressure from China to elevate Munir as the army chief. At present, Pakistan owes huge external debt to China and it does not have the courage to defy the latter’s orders. Moreover, there is a saying that in Pakistan the government does not have an army but the army has a government. Although there were many such occasions during Bajwa’s time when the army at least tried to show that it was away from power, it turned out to be only an illusion. The power lies only with the army. The Pakistani army does not want any friendly relation to be established with India whereas Imran wanted this. If friendly relations are maintained, how would the army be able to have an upper hand? You will be surprised to know that the whole attitude of the Pakistani army is like a commercial establishment. It has industries. It does trading too. The army has made itself so prosperous that the Pakistani government virtually has no say at all. Those who are in the ruling establishment right now have accepted the supremacy of the army. They don’t have the power like Imran. There is no harm in saying that Munir, whose hands are stained with the blood of Pulwama attack, is the blue-eyed boy of the present government as well as the Pakistan army.

Now that Munir has been elevated as the army chief, it goes without saying that he will only work to fuel Pakistan’s anti-India policies. It is believed that he knows about every nook and corner of Kashmir. He is very close to the terrorists too. Now that he has become the de facto ruler of Pakistan, we need to be more careful. Our intelligence apparatus should be strong enough to thwart any design of Munir and also give a swift befitting reply if he dared indulge in any misadventure!

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